PloS one 2016 Oct 511(10) e0164052 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0164052
In spite of a high prevalence of HIV infection among adolescents and young adults in sub-Saharan Africa, uptake of HIV testing and counseling among youth in the region remains sub-optimal. The objective of this study was to assess factors that influence uptake of HIV testing and counseling among youth aged 15-24 years in sub-Saharan Africa.
This study used the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data from countries that represent four geographic regions of sub-Saharan Africa: Congo (Brazzaville), representing central Africa (DHS 2011-2012); Mozambique, representing southern Africa (DHS 2011); Nigeria, representing western Africa (DHS 2013); and Uganda, representing eastern Africa (DHS 2011). Analyses were restricted to 23,367 male and female respondents aged 15-24 years with complete data on the variables of interest. Chi-square tests and logistic regression models were used to assess predictors of HIV testing. Statistical significance was set at p< 0.01. RESULTS
The analysis revealed that a majority of the respondents were female (78.1%) and aged 20-24-years (60.7%). Only a limited proportion of respondents (36.5%) had ever tested for HIV and even fewer (25.7%) demonstrated comprehensive knowledge of HIV/AIDS. There was a significant association between HIV testing and respondents’ gender, age, age at sexual debut, and comprehensive knowledge of HIV in the pooled sample. Older youth (adjusted OR (aOR) = 2.19; 99% CI = 1.99-2.40) and those with comprehensive knowledge of HIV (aOR = 1.98; 1.76-2.22) had significantly higher odds of ever being tested for HIV than younger respondents and those with limited HIV/AIDS knowledge respectively. Furthermore, men had lower odds of HIV testing than women (aOR = 0.32; 0.28-0.37).
Reaching youth in sub-Saharan Africa for HIV testing continues to be a challenge. Public health programs that seek to increase HIV counseling and testing among youth should pay particular attention to efforts that target high-risk subpopulations of youth. The results further suggest that these initiatives would be strengthened by including strategies to increase HIV comprehensive knowledge.